A brief response to the blown hot-air without alternatives by analysts, big-business and 'communists'
The African National Congress Youth League 24th National Congress happened exactly a month ago, and from what were commentaries and reactions from various sections of media since Congress confirms our characterisation that it was the biggest. When we opened the 24th National Congress, we made the bold remark that it was the biggest, not only in terms of the number of delegates in attendance, but with regards to the agenda it has set for the future of South Africa.
The 24th National Congress made a clarion call to economic freedom fighters to intensify the battle for total economic, social and political emancipation of the black majority and Africans in particular. From Congress, every section of South African society is trying to interpret and debate the outcomes of the 24th National Congress.
The 24th National Congress National Executive Committee is yet to have its first meeting to consolidate and confirm that the captured resolutions reflect what Congress mandated the elected leadership to pursue until June 2014.
Nevertheless, sections of society from the right and questionable left political spectrum have in their numbers and with aggression responded to resolutions which are still going to be released for official engagement by everyone. Almost all media channels ran huge and substantial analyses of our congress and dedicated pages and pages trying to understand the agenda for economic freedom in our lifetime.
In the process of doing so, sections of the media, analysts, right-wing propagandists, big-business and the questionable left casted aspersions, made alarmist remarks, spread lies and conspiracies and in most cases became petty and lost focus. We are sorry to say that all the anger and aggression expressed in various newspaper analyses, reports and speculations signified nothing, because all of them offered no alternatives to the agenda for real economic transformation.
Organised business attempted to intimidate all of us by threatening South Africa with disinvestments like they did in 1994, the questionable left forces blew lots of hot air, and those who led ANC and government policies that failed to transfer wealth wrote waffling analysis, and still we neither understand, nor hear what they are saying.
The ANC Youth League deliberately kept quite after Congress on almost all policy positions adopted by Congress, now only accessible through a minute summary in the Congress declaration. We patiently and attentively listened to what Business said, to what the SACP said, to what some leaders in the ANC said, but we still cannot hear any alternative to the programme for economic freedom in our lifetime.
All we hear from all these forces is that they are opposed to nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation, but we do not hear the alternatives to nationalisation because all of us agree that the status quo is not an option. As things stand, wealth is concentrated in very few hands of those empowered by the racist, murderous apartheid regime. As things stand, land is still owned by descendants of settlers who violently and murderously stole from our forefathers. As things stand, an absolute majority of African youth are living in absolute poverty, starvation and hopelessness.
As things stand, white domination over the black majority and Africans in particular is still a reality due to massive economic and racialised inequalities. The status quo is not an option, and the ANC Youth League has a political and economic programme to address these challenges. What are the analysts, big-business, communists, and neo-liberal sycophants saying should be the alternative?
The programme of action for economic freedom in our lifetime, which the 24th National Congress adopted, says the State should play a central and leading role in ownership and control of strategic sectors of the economy, in particular land and mineral wealth. The programme says such can only happen when we put in place legislative mechanisms in a democratic society, which will empower the State to expropriate without compensation for public interest and public purpose.
The programme says we should decentralise economic development and create new industries and therefore cities through well funded and maintained Industrial Development Zones. The programme says we should provide free education for poor, and take a minimum of 10 000 students to outside the country every year to equip them with skills for minerals' extraction, beneficiation and industrialisation and for successful land usage and agriculture for the land that will be expropriated.
What we expect from the South African society on these issues and many others, is a thorough and well-informed engagement, which should offer alternatives to what we are proposing. If the suspicion of the Communist Party for instance, is that we are calling for nationalisation in order to bail out black mining elites, the Party carries an obligation to propose to us a model which will not bail out black mining elites and see if we will disagree.
If business feels nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation will scare investors, they should propose how best does the State take ownership and control of its strategic sectors of the economy and still find a role for the private sector to productively and profitably play.
The interventions and reflections of COSATU raised the bar and begun to identify monopoly industries and other strategic sectors of the economy that should be under State ownership and control. What is more relieving about COSATU's posture on the question of Nationalisation of Mines is that they are playing the ball and not the man.
Workers who gathered in Gallagher Convention for the Central Committee two weeks refused to be agitated against nationalisation of Mines by the SACP General Secretary who in his ill-informed, shallow, and lacking address to the COSATU meeting tried to mobilise against the ANC Youth League's 24th National Congress' outcomes. As we said before, the youth/workers alliance in progressive revolutions will never be undermined.
These are the kind of issues we expect society to engage and enrich us on. What we have seen thus far are angry, suspicious and very agitated business people, communists and analysts full of fury, yet signifying nothing. We have not heard what they are saying because they have no alternatives and proposals on how the country moves forward.
As a fearless organisation, vanguard of the working class and militant organisation of the youth of the ANC, the ANC Youth League will over the next few weeks, be engaging with organised business, labour, communists, communities, churches about the outcomes of our 24th National Congress. Perhaps from these forums we will hear and understand what is being said, since thus far lots of hot air was blown and we have not been told any alternative.
This article by ANCYL President Julius Malema first appeared in Hlomelang, the online newsletter of the ANC Youth League.
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