17 February 2010

Revolutionary legacy of Nelson Mandela

Umsebenzi Online, Volume 9, No. 4, 17 February 2010

In this Issue:

  • Celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela: Intensify the class struggles on all fronts!

Red Alert

Celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela: Intensify the class struggles on all fronts!

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Over the last two weeks, South Africa, especially the progressive forces, celebrated two very important events. On 2nd 2010 February we celebrated 20 years of the unbanning of the ANC, SACP and other components of the national liberation movement, and on the 11th February the release of Nelson Mandela from the apartheid prisons. The celebration of the unbanning of our organizations and Nelson Mandela was not a tribute to the 'generosity' of the apartheid regime, but honouring the massive sacrifices of millions of South Africans in their selfless struggles against the apartheid regime. The release of Mandela marked a high point in the determined struggles of our people dislodge the apartheid regime as an important step towards the creation of a democratic South Africa.

The celebration of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison also marked one of the most important victories for the international anti-apartheid movement and, to a large extent, also marked the victory of anti-imperialist forces against tyranny and oppression worldwide. The South African Communist Party (SACP) also wishes to use this occasion to salute all our people and the international(ist) progressive forces in their role towards the defeat of one of the most evil forces on earth, which was bent on promoting and consolidating a neo-fascist project of racial oppression and class exploitation of a white minority over a black majority in the latter's country of birth and origin.

Remnants of the elements of the beneficiaries of the apartheid order, including elements of the current opposition forces in the current democratic dispensation and their backers in mainstream bourgeois media, have tried very hard to try and present these two major developments as an outcome of the generosity of the leaders of the apartheid regime. Having dismally failed in this exercise, including their attempts to rubbish President Zuma's State of the Nation Address, these forces are now resorting to some of the worst tactics of trying to discredit and undermine the very democratic institutions they claim to be defending. Yesterday's walkout from parliament by the Democratic Alliance and Cope is actually an expression of how these forces have lost their strategic sense of direction and expression of their frustrations in the failure of their attempts to exploit our democratic institutions for their narrow party political gains.

The walk-out by both Cope and the Democratic Alliance in parliament is also an expression of how these forces seek to use parliament for their narrow and highly sectarian interests, and thus their failure to do so exposing their political bankruptcy and some of the worst forms of political opportunism. It is in this desperation that Cope has also exposed itself as a parasite and political extension of the narrow right-wing and often racist interests of the Democratic Alliance.

The more the frustrations of the DA and COPE are exposed, the more the naked class interests of these forces are exposed.

The opportunism of the opposition parties also manifest themselves in their attempts to praise Nelson Mandela, not out of genuine recognitition of his role in the liberation struggle, but in order to try and opportunistically use his image and legacy to condemn the ANC, its alliance partners and the national liberation struggle as a whole. It is an attempt to try and appropriate the image of Madiba to advance their narrow class interests.

It is for all the above reasons that as the SACP we have correctly and consistently argued that the global 'iconic' status of Madiba must never, ever be allowed to bury Madiba the revolutionary - whose principled commitment to the liberation of the black majority and his fight against all forms of colonialism, discrimination and chauvinism must be at all times highlighted and defended.

In our tribute to Madiba, the SACP also highlighted the fact that Madiba was not only a leader of the ANC and its alliance partners, but that he at all times genuinely remained a loyal friend of South African communists. It is on his consistent and principled defence of the ANC alliance with the communists that Madiba will stand out as a true friend of South African communists. For instance, shortly after his meeting with PW Botha in prison on 5 July 1989, in which the latter sought to offer Mandela his freedom if he distanced himself from the communists, that he had the following profound statement to make:

"No dedicated ANC member will ever heed the call to break with the SACP. We regard such a demand (from PW Botha) as a purely divisive (apartheid's) government strategy. It is in fact a call on us to commit suicide. Which man of honour will ever desert a life-long friend among his people? Which opponent will ever trust such a treacherous freedom fighter? Yet this is what the (apartheid) government is in effect asking us to do; to desert our faithful allies. We will not fall into that trap".

This is also a pointed lesson to those within our own ranks whose sole mission is to try and attempt to push the communists out of the ANC.

For us as South African communists, we need to, at all times, defend Madiba the revolutionary! In practice this requires that we also intensify working class struggles in all key sites of power as part of winning our key strategic objectives as contained in our medium term vision; to build working class hegemony in all key sites of power.

It is therefore of utmost importance that much as we celebrate the iconic Madiba, we consistently push for preserving, honouring and integrity of Madiba as a revolutionary. It is for this reason that for the SACP Madiba shall always remain a revolutionary, whose making was shaped by the revolutionary struggles as led by the ANC. This requires the intensification of class struggles on all fronts of terrains of struggle. The intensification of such class struggles must also mean that, in memory of Madiba, we intensify our class struggle on all fronts, including the confrontation of those within our own ranks, who are using access to state power to advance their narrow economic class interests.

We must also deepen the class struggle in order to celebrate true values of what Madiba stood for; selflessness and commitment to people as a with a view of rolling back the capitalist system and its corrupting values of dog eat dog. To us this is the only way we can protect the legacy of someone like Madiba and the integrity of our revolution.

Long live Madiba long live!



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