13 August 2009

No end of basics

[CU for Friday, 14 August 2009]

This is the last of the series called “Basic Communism”. It is an arbitrary finish. In fact the quest for “basics” is a false quest. All communists need political education, all the time. There is no point of final arrival, and there are no definable intermediate resting-points.

There is one common thing that characterises all political education, and that is dialogue. Political education is social, or it is nothing. Politics is always a dialogue between people of varying degrees of prior understanding. This is why the Freirean method, where the educational process is understood as residing in the dialogue, is so ideal for politics in general and for the Communist University in particular.

In political education, we are not seeking a tested, examined or qualified performance of the individual. We are seeking to create a widening social dialogue. Education and politics have no dividing line between them. Fidel Castro once said that Cuba has become one vast university. This is how it should be.

Even so, the desire expressed last month by the comrade who wrote in, for “basics”, or in other words for a checklist of a minimum number of topics to be equipped with, represents a serious subjective desire and we have responded to it. We have brought the matter to the point where it can itself be examined.

Will the comrade now feel satisfied, or at least comforted? What else could have been included?

One would be the communist theory of National Democratic Revolution, and the related lesson of class alliance. We are accustomed to hearing the working class referred to as a majority. But the working class is not in a position to do without allies. If all other class forces are lined up against it, the working class will never reach its goals. Hence the working class must be allied with some, but not all, of the other class forces in society at any time. The effective alliance is one of classes, and not of organisations. The tripartite alliance of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP only has meaning to the extent that it represents a real unity-in-action of class and class.

A last one would be the question of the time for armed struggle. In its exile, our liberation movement had contact with many experienced revolutionaries. One of them was Bill Pomeroy, the exiled US/Philippines revolutionary who lived for many decades in London, until his death this year. Pomeroy’s theoretical contribution, based on his own role in armed struggles in the Philippines, was of great assistance to the ANC, to the SACP and to Umkhonto we Sizwe. Pomeroy emphasises that the link between the political and the military must never be broken; and that the superior of the two is the political.

Click on this link:

On the Time for Armed Struggle, William Pomeroy, 1974 (6800 words)


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