29 December 2009

SACP 2009 End of the Year Statement

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SACP 2009 End of the Year Statement

29 December 2009

The SACP takes this opportunity to wish all South Africans especially the working class and the poor a restful and enjoyable festive season and a happy new year. The toiling masses of our people deserve this rest as they are not only the backbone and engine of the South African economy but also the backbone of the struggle to deepen our democracy. Without the decisive leadership of the working class our democracy will forever remained threatened.

As we go into the New Year, the working class, like it did during the struggle against apartheid, must ensure that it remains at the head of the struggle to consolidate our democracy. To this end the workers and the poor of our country have a duty to remain vigilant and fight against all the threats to our hard earned democracy. Just like there would have not been victory against apartheid without the working class being at the head of our struggle, there will be no deepening and consolidation of our democracy without the working class and the poor of this country playing a leading role in that regard.

28 December 2009

Nepal army still stalling integration after 3 years

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Prachanda (front) and Baburam Bhattarai

Nepal Maoists ask India to clarify army chief’s remark

Sudeshna Sarkar, Thaindian News, Bangkok, 28 December 2009

Kathmandu, Dec 28 (IANS) Terming a recent remark by the Indian Army chief as “naked intervention in Nepal’s internal affairs”, this country’s former Maoist guerrillas, who are seeking to get back to power, have asked the Indian government to clarify its position.

During a visit to India earlier this month by Nepal’s army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung, Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor was reported as saying that the Maoists’ guerrilla force should not be merged with the Nepal Army as it would lead to the politicisation of the national army.

The relevance of Gramsci’s life, times and theory to today

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The relevance of Gramsci’s life, times and theory to today

Peter  Latham, Communist University in South London, 24th December 2009

I first read Gramsci in English over 40 years ago. Moreover, my PhD thesis on Theories of the Labour Movement—which is a Marxist critique of non-Marxist theories of industrial relations—used Gramsci’s concept of the “organic” working class intellectual to explain 20th century rank and file movements in the building industry.[1] 

This paper is based on the Gramsci section in my forthcoming book on The State and Local Government.[2]

Roger Simon—the co-author with Noreen Branson of The British State published in 1958 at the height of the cold war when they used the pseudonyms James Harvey and Katherine Hood[3]—subsequently revised his approach to take into account what he saw as Gramsci’s modification of classical Marxism, including Leninism. The latter, according to Simon, saw power as concentrated in the state and under the exclusive control of the capitalist class (or part of it) and took the view that the construction of socialism could only begin after the working class took power—as did Harvey and Hood.[4] Conversely, Gramsci’s concept of the integral state—‘political society plus civil society, in other words, hegemony protected by the armour of coercion’[5]—implied that the working class could only achieve state power after it had won a substantial measure of hegemony in civil society.[6] Simon still rejected the social-democratic theory of state neutrality: but he also rejected Gramsci’s view that factory councils should replace parliamentary democracy.[7] Hence, as well as the democratisation of parliament, Simon advocated direct democracy in the local community and workplace plus broad alliances based on the left and other social movements.[8]

27 December 2009

What It Takes to Build a Movement

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What It Takes to Build a Movement

Mark Rudd, Counterpunch, 25-27 December 2009

Since the summer of 2003, I've crisscrossed the country speaking at colleges and theaters and bookstores, first with The Weather Underground documentary and, starting in March of this year, with my book, Underground:  My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (William Morrow, 2009). In discussions with young people, they often tell me, “Nothing anyone does can ever make a difference.”

The words still sound strange: it's a phrase I never once heard forty years ago, a sentiment obviously false on its surface.  Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, I – and the rest of the country – knew about the civil rights movement in the South, and what was most evident was that individuals, joining with others, actually were making a difference. The labor movement of the Thirties to the Sixties had improved the lives of millions; the anti-war movement had brought down a sitting president – LBJ, March 1968 – and was actively engaged in stopping the Vietnam War. In the forty years since, the women's movement, gay rights, disability rights, animal rights, and environmental movements have all registered enormous social and political gains. To old new lefties, such as myself, this is all self-evident.

Fridge Gods

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26 December 2009


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Test for the CU.

Thanks for your patience

The rating gadget does not come up.

18 December 2009

Venezuela's President awarded Chris Hani Peace Prize


Venezuela's President awarded the Peace Prize Chris Hani

Caracas, Dec 16 ABN.- In virtue of his work in favor of the working class and for being considered as “the main warrior in the anti imperialism struggle, the Bolivarian Revolution, and for his commitment in the fights for peace, solidarity and socialism of the working class,” South African Communist Party (SACP) awarded the Peace Prize Chris Hani to the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
The prize was awarded during the second summit of the political party, which took place in Polokwane, South Africa.

16 December 2009

Fake and real communists


Yesterday the CU published the results of six months of work, composed from the political education resources of the Communist University. These are the eight new “Generic Courses” (click here for the links). Some of this work has been accepted for the SACP web site (here).

During this work, which was unavoidably somewhat of a totalisation, it was often natural to wonder what a “complete”, “real”, “genuine” or “true” communist might be. The work compelled one to do so.

14 December 2009

Declaration of the SACP Special National Congress


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.

9 December 2009

President Zuma: OR Tambo Memorial Lecture


His Excellency South African President Jacob Zuma delivers the Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture

Lusaka, Zambia, 8 December 2009

Your Excellency and dear brother, President Banda,
University of Zambia Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga,
Zambian President Rupiah Banda,
First President Kenneth Kaunda
Members of the Academic Community, Business, Labour and Students,

Distinguished Guests,

I am extremely honoured and privileged to deliver this Inaugural Oliver Reginald Tambo Memorial Lecture today.

At the outset, let me express our deepest gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality provided to us by the President and Mrs Banda as well as the Zambian people.

As my delegation would attest, this State Visit has been an emotional one for us. We have returned to the home of the African National Congress.

6 December 2009

SACP Rural Development Document, commentary


The SACP Rural Development Discussion Document (click here for a PDF download from the SACP web site), released in advance of the SACP Special National Congress of December 2009, succeeds quite well, in the first four of its five parts, to make a sympathetic and factual narrative that depicts the plight of the South African rural areas.

As such, it can be contrasted and compared with the remainder of the Communist University Generic Course on “Development, Rural and Urban”, of which it now becomes, for the time being, the final part.

It is in the fifth and final three pages (1198 words), called “Our response to rural development”, that this discussion document falls apart in spectacular fashion.

4 December 2009

SNC Discussion Document on Rural Development


SACP Discussion Document on Rural Development Policy Framework

1. Introduction

Rural development is about the human development of the rural poor, which includes, but is not reducible to agriculture and land redistribution. However land and agrarian transformation should be the linchpins for our rural development. The paper’s main objective is to assist our South African Communist Party in its efforts to develop a policy and programme aimed at addressing the scourge of rural poverty in the country and campaigns that it may embark upon to advance the struggle against rural poverty. To this end, the paper lays out a brief historical context of the agrarian question, identifies the main causes, the extent and depth of rural poverty. 

Nationalising in order to privatise?


The nationalisation debate…more and more curious

Jeremy Cronin, Umsebenzi Online, Volume 8, No. 22, 3 December 2009

The present discussion on nationalising the mines runs the danger of becoming too narrowly focused. It's a mistake to detach the question of the ownership of the mines from the overall strategic thrust of our economic policy programme.

This strategic programme has emerged with increasing clarity from recent SACP and COSATU congresses, and from the ANC's December 2007 watershed 52nd national conference. Our shared strategic perspective has been further consolidated at our most recent mid-November Alliance Summit. If we are to make progress in the discussion around the mining sector, for instance, then we need to begin by identifying what we are saying is our key overall strategic economic priority. Last month's Alliance Summit summarised it crisply as "transforming the structure of the economy and moving to a different growth path".