Forward to the 14th Party Congress!!
Statement to Party Provincial Councils
30 June – 2 July 2017
Looming retrenchments at AngloGold: The SACP stands with the workers, condemns capitalist greed!
Dear Comrades, allow us first of all on behalf of our Party’s approximately quarter-a-million membership to express our solidarity with the 8,500 AngloGold workers who are facing a looming retrenchment. The reason for the retrenchment is workplace restructuring essentially to maximise profit. The capitalist bosses and stakeholders at AngloGold do not care about the workers. They care about one thing only, profit. The SACP will engage with the National Union of Mineworkers, the NUM to find ways by which we can work together to fight the retrenchments.
Inquest into Ahmed Timol’s death: The whole truth must come out!
Dear Comrades, on Friday, 30 June it was the last day of the first session of the court hearing of the official inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol. Timol died on 27 October 1971 while in the hands of apartheid police detention in Johannesburg. Timol’s “crime” was to be associated with our Party – the SACP, and the ANC. The Police claimed that while alone – in their hands – he rushed to the window and dived out on the street. This is obviously unconvincing, which is why the SACP fully supports the inquest and Timol’s family. Our suspicion is that the apartheid regime killed Timol. Going forward the SACP will organise pickets during the course of the inquest.
Forward to the 14th Party Congress!!
We will be holding our 14th Party Congress from 10 to 15 July in Gauteng Province. The Congress will analyse our people’s problems and challenges. It will look at solutions to the problems, and ways to overcome the challenges. The Congress will analyse the threats and weaknesses facing our national democratic revolution and therefore our people. It will discuss the role the SACP must play towards dealing those threats a blow and correcting those weaknesses. The Congress will discuss the opportunities available to, and those that could be created for, the revolution and therefore the people.
It will discuss ways to strengthen Party Organisation and enhance our capacity to continuously earn, build, play and intensify our vanguard role as a working class Party. Last but not least, South Africa is not located in the space where there are no other countries, where there is no resistance to change. The Congress will therefore locate all these issues in, and discuss the character of the international context, our location and role in it, and its impact on us.
It will discuss the situation facing people in other nation states with a focus on class struggle, the conditions of the working class and state of its organisation internationally. The outcome of the Congress will be consolidated in the form of a declaration, resolutions, and an updated Party Political Programme.
We are looking forward to contributions from all our provinces, districts, branches and individual members, to the success of our 14th Party Congress. The Congress will be organised under the theme:
Defend, Advance, Deepen the National Democratic Revolution – The Vanguard Role of the SACP!!
It is important both in looking back where we come from, and forward to the Congress and beyond, to start by acknowledging the social progress millions of our people started realising since our 1994 democratic breakthrough. The democratic breakthrough provided for human and social development rights in our country’s new Constitution. This laid the foundation for social progress, and is the context in which our government massively expanded access essential necessities.
Millions of our people, the majority of whom is made up by the workers and poor, for the first time gained access to houses, allocated to them for free. These houses were electrified. The other houses that our people built for themselves in their different communities were excluded from electrification on a racist basis since the first domestic electrification was made in our country in the late 1800s to 1994. Similarly, clean drinking water, education and social grants, were massively expanded. And so was healthcare, including the all-important HIV treatment decisively rolled out following the 2009 general elections.
Despite the progress achieved since 1994, systemic social problems and challenges persist, and others were in different respects reproduced. Particularly due to a lack of systemic and structural economic transformation, the workers and poor still live under the yoke of capitalist economic exploitation, or under conditions determined by it – and its highest stage of imperialism. They live under the repression of class inequality.
This inequality is further articulated along the lines of race, gender and geography. Rural areas remain under-developed. They lack access to important resources and economic development infrastructure, compared to urban areas. But within urban areas there is uneven development as well. Townships, peri-urban areas and informal settlements remain disadvantaged, compared to suburbs.
Black women remain the majority of both the historically and previously disadvantaged. They suffered the triple oppression of class exploitation and, based on it racial discrimination and gender domination. The conditions of black people in general, who suffered class exploitation and, based on it racial discrimination are still behind those of their white counterparts (for who structures of white privileges were designed under colonial oppression, including its apartheid variant) in many respects.
Nevertheless within the white population group, the tiny minority of capitalists remain economically dominant. Their control of the wealth (capital), along with that of foreign capitalists, is also dominant across our society at large. However, class inequality has entrenched both within and across all our population groups. Within the black population group there is a tiny minority of capitalists who enjoy the fruits of high levels of class inequality.
Yet looked at in whole as a political-economy, South Africa is still trapped in the under-developed position, the semi-peripheral location it was inserted in the imperialist world regime and its international division of labour. We are still significantly reliant on the exports of our mineral resources as raw materials, rather than national production of high value added, finished goods.
For example almost all the electronic gadgets, computers and related software and applications we have become so much dependent on, and the electrical appliances in our homes and at work, were imported or researched and developed elsewhere. It is inconceivable that we will be able to reduce unemployment without developing national production. Work comes from production!
And while the masses of our people live in poverty, a few, both black and white individuals who form the capitalist class and on a capitalist private basis enjoy the lion’s share of workers produce – social surplus (or surplus value) in the form of profit, rent, interests, and, related to all of these, capital. Private accumulation of wealth on a capitalist basis, which forms the basis of the development of private monopoly capital as the ultimate regime of economic exploitation, is in our country dominated by white and foreign capitalists.
But it also comprises of black capitalists in its ownership structures and mode of private wealth appropriation despite the fact that they control less than their white and foreign counterparts. Of course they too, and their aspirant and petty bourgeoisie sections, want to acquire more wealth. This is what some of them, and their supporters, call “radical economic transformation”. True radical economic transformation is obviously different from that paradigm maintenance.
The regime of the accumulation of capital on a capitalist private basis rests on the exploitation of the workers, regardless whether the capitalist bosses and stakeholders who exploit them and appropriate the wealth they produce are white, black, or foreign. This is why the Communist Party must play a leading role to the working class in particular and our society in general in analysing the CLASS content of every perspective or proposition promoted in the name of all the people, including Africans in particular and black people in general. Without such an analysis, the working class, and at its own peril, will fall prey to mobilisation aimed at serving the agendas of other class forces including its exploiters.
The working class and poor masses of our people who have no ownership of capital of their own comprise of millions of workers who are paid meagre wages, and millions others who are unemployed. According to Statistics South Africa, in the first quarter of this year, the total unemployment rate was 36.4 percent. This means that approximately 9.3 million people were unemployed. Those who were, and still are employed comprise of workers under the yoke of labour brokers, casualisation and other forms of temporary employment.
The immediate task facing our revolution is to create work for the unemployed and radically reduce unemployment, poverty and class inequality – altogether with its race, gender and geographic dimensions. This task must be tackled as part of the national imperative to move our national democratic revolution on to a second, more radical phase.
This requires deepening democratisation in all spheres of societal activity, as well as a true radical economic transformation. A true radical economic transformation is part and parcel of our national transformation project of democratisation – including of the economy – towards complete liberation and social emancipation.
Beware of false radical economic transformation, advance true radical economic transformation
There is a big difference between a real radical economic transformation and false radical economic transformation – which is concerned, but selectively, about the symptoms of the problems our society must solve. False radical economic transformation, in addition, justifies capitalist looting of our national wealth and public resources by parasites, their networked or other ilk.
This is the context in which some individuals automatically spring to the defence of the Guptas, and the brazen smash and grab capitalist private wealth accumulation widely associated with them and their collaborators. They are concerned about defending the rot associated with the Guptas and their networks of patronage and factionalism. They are not concerned about the people as a whole. When they revoke the necessity for ownership by black people, they are referring to black capitalists. They are not referring to collective ownership and democratic control of capital by the people as whole.
On the contrary, true radical economic transformation is concerned about the people as a whole, and both the symptoms and root causes of the problems and challenges the people are facing. True radical economic transformation, as the Freedom Charter states, is about systematically transferring the wealth of our mineral resources, banks and monopoly industries, not to some few individuals because they happen to be black, but to the ownership of the people as a whole. This is, in one word, socialisation. Radical economic transformation is about building democratic control of the economy, and must lead to economic and broader social emancipation.
As the ANC’s 1969 Strategy and Tactics document states, economic emancipation will not be realised in our land – unless our wealth and resources are placed at the disposal of the people as a whole and, are not manipulated by sections or elite of individuals – be they Black or White. The idea that inserting some black individuals in untransformed structures of capitalist ownership and exploitation of the masses is radical economic transformation is misleading. It is part of an agenda by the elite and those who aspire to become part of the elite to consolidate political support invoking the name of Africans in particular and black people in general. What they want is to enrich themselves and their acquaintances. The working class must be alive to this class reality.
Related to this is the question frequently posed and wrongfully answered to feed what the ANC in its 1969 Strategy and Tactics document identified as chauvinism and narrow nationalism. The ANC warned that its nationalism must not be confused with such a drive by the sections or elite of individuals from the ranks of the historically oppressed to replace the oppressors in the exploitation of the masses. Chauvinists and narrow nationalists do not have a problem with the regime of capitalist exploitation. What they want is to be included in the exploitation of the masses rather than the masses achieving both complete political liberation and social emancipation. That cannot be radical economic transformation.
The primary contradiction of the South African society, the regime of capitalist exploitation of workers as well as its highest stage of imperialism and one crisis after another are a single basis and driver of the economic inequality, unemployment and poverty ravaging our society. This is also the basis of the drug dealing that is destroying the future of the youth of our country. Instead of supporting parasites, instead of protecting looters, instead of shielding corruption and rent-seeking, we must combat the rot. We must simultaneously intensify our struggle against the main adversary of our national democratic revolution, all the forces and chief representatives of private monopoly capital.
Our immediate task, the dialectically interwoven struggle to dislodge parasites and confront private monopoly capital
Our immediate task is the dialectically interwoven, it is the dual struggle to dislodge the parasites and confront those who privately command a monopoly position over control of capital. If we do not dislodge parasites from the body of our movement and the state, they will weaken our capacity to confront the dominant forces of the regime of private capital. In any case, the parasites are part and parcel of the same regime of the exploitation of the working class. What they want is to increase their stake in the name of radical economic transformation. Fighting the parasites and confronting the dominant forces of the system of private monopoly capital is not a stagiest task – it is a twin-task that we must concurrently intensify on all fronts and key sites of struggle.
Confront looting, misappropriation of tax payers many to fund a private wedding
What is even more disturbing is that the loot, reportedly involving mysterious Gupta businesses and their accounts in Dubai, apparently took place in the context of their supporters and pop-up lobby groups pushing for President Jacob Zuma to delay the proclamation of, or at all no ascend to law the recently enacted FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) designed to stop money laundering. The loot must immediately be investigated and prosecuted. It does not need to wait until a judicial commission of inquiry into corporate state capture is established. Charges must be pressed now.
Reconfiguration of the alliance
Related to all of these is the important question of who wields power. This is the context in which our 14th Party Congress will discuss the relationship of the Party to state power. The Central Committee has cautioned against looking at the issue of state power in isolation from democratic popular power. The two are inextricable linked. State power cannot be obtained in a democratic contest with other political forces without democratic popular power.
Related to the question of state power, to support corrupt forces on the ballot will be a travesty of justice. We must do everything possible to avoid that. Corrupt forces must be contested on all fronts wherever they find expression or prevail. We must take this message to heart when we discuss the question of state and popular power at our 14thParty Congress and assess the efficacy of the ANC-led alliance electoral platform we have followed since our first democratic elections in 1994.
The issue of state power very much includes our alliance and its relationship to state power. As things stand, and, increasingly so, governance, related deployments and accountability are handled as if there is no alliance. Consultation has almost collapsed. The alliance must be reconfigured. If it cannot be reconfigured from within, it must be reconfigured from without, or from both inside and outside. We are the ANC’s alliance partners, not its internal structures or leagues. Most importantly, the alliance is made up by independent formations.
The alliance must be reconfigured to give expression to our views, the views of the working class on all major questions of our revolution, including legislative, policy and regulatory development and related deployments and accountability. The alliance must be sees working as a united force in decision-making and implementation especially with regards to state power. We will have no reason remaining to be an alliance if we cannot work together where it matters the most – the exercise of state power to advance, deepen and defend the national democratic revolution.
Issued by the SACP, 2 July 2017