On our character, philosophy, ethics and organisation - EFF

Fighters say their organisation grounded upon the philosophies of racial pan-nationalism and progressive internationalism

Economic Freedom Fighters 1st National People's Assembly Discussion Documents: People's Power for Economic Freedom



1) Much has been said and written about forms and methods of organization building. We therefore do not intend to present a detailed discussion on this subject. This paper merely serves as a framework for thoroughgoing discussions within our organization. Organization building process in the contemporary era is premised on intense and critical engagement among members with the attitude of ‘holding no bars' approach held uppermost in their minds. 

The paper starts with a definition of the concept of ‘organization' and/or ‘party building' and proceeds with the following sub-themes:

o Defining the concepts organization and organization building

o The character and ideological orientation;

o Revolutionary ethics and morality

o Elected leaders and the relationship with the masses; 

o Organizational democracy

o Basic principles for organization building;

o Branch as a nucleus of organization building

o Organizational discipline

o Organizational development and growth

o Political education and cadre development

o Women and Youth Command Structures

o Character of EFF Youth Command Team

o Character of EFF Women Command Teams

o Building a Campaigning Organization

o Relations with Civil Society Movement

o Relations with Trade Union Movement

o Workplace units/branches

o Relations with student organizations

o EFF a Catalyst for Left unity and working class hegemony

o fundamental questions for consideration and wat-forward

2) Clearly, from the onset, our departure should be premised from the standpoint of the perennial question of the founding national assembly: "WHAT IS TO BE DONE?"

At this national assembly on What Is To Be Done? delegates, pointedly, deliberated and considered three options and resolved, out of necessity, to form a political party. This party must be built into a formidable force, nurtured and sustained in order to fulfill its political objectives. 

The national assembly in characterizing the political situation and a need to form an economic emancipation movement to pursue the struggle for ‘economic freedom in our lifetime' made the following observations as primary aspect in the organization building process: a) our party is only in the process of formation and it needs theory to unite itself; b) our movement must independently and critically assess the lessons of former liberation movements and needs theory to do so; c) the role of a vanguard fighter can be fulfilled only by a party which is guided by the most advanced theory.

Very important to note in any discussion for organization building in South Africa is a complex process that inevitably pierces into the complex history of liberation movements and political parties in general. EFF should strive to appreciate and learn from the best that human development and progress bequeath so that it improves on the wealth of experience, knowledge and technical expertise brought into its ranks by different generations of activists of the 70s, 80, 90s and the young firebrands of the 21st century. 

In other words is EFF better able to counter-act and insulate itself against and articulate a countervailing culture on the basis of a revolutionary organizational discipline for its survival as a new movement for economic emancipation?

EFF is relatively a young organization generally and fondly described as ‘a baby born giant' its ability to rise against odds and fate lies in member's hands. The assessment of the specific features of the conjuncture in which our organizational building finds itself today is crucial for EFF's structures to avoid mistakes committed by other organizations. Building EFF requiresfacilitating contemporary processes based on knowledge economy, scientific innovation and creative human imaginations and endeavors of addressing the past in a given context even responsibly and sustainably.

What is ‘Organization'?

An organization like EFF as an economic emancipation movement is a weapon of struggle in the hands of the people through which the masses constantly strive to transform and change their adverse conditions. In other words, an organization is described as 'people's collective effort to solve people's problems'. This is a proper definition that is consistent with progressive and traditions of revolutionary movements worldwide. A revolutionary movement will be able to weather storms of any type only if it musters the art of struggle and set the focus on a more scientific basis, and it must have coherence of strategy, tactics, plan and organizational management mechanisms. 

A. What is organization building?

Building an organization is more than adding mortar and bricks together. It is an enduring process of conscious, deliberate and systemic effort that transcends a mere conception but involves human action towards physical existence of the organization - its structures and systems, forms, content. All of these give both theoretical and practical shape to that which embodies the concept and the character of the organization. Mortar and bricks, yes - they are important ingredients, however, they are not the end but the means to the end.

Unlike all former liberation movements, the new movement for economic emancipation is invariably faced with a complete difficult task whereby the enemy is not clearly defined and cannot easily be identified for all to see because it (the enemy) found allies among some sections of the formerly oppressed. EFF rightly, identifies white monopoly capital as its strategic enemy and locates it at the center of its focus. Members would be required to jointly attempt to answer whether EFF should be both a vanguard and a mass party predisposed to the urgent need to organize various protest movements, unemployed youth and lead the working class masses concurrently, whether is it suited to perform this task without risking its survival and get lost in the contestation of sectoral or class interests? 

This question is primarily central to any process of defining organizational character, renewal and development. The primacy of theory and practice is based on the assumption that ‘theory without the political practice is only an academic exercise; political practice without the theory is blind' and devoid of concrete analysis of the concrete situation.


The founding manifesto adopted by the July 26, 2013 national consultative assembly characterizes EFF as a MARXIST-LENINIST-FANONIAN militant, radical, fearless, anti-capitalist and fervent opponent of world imperialism. On page 128, paragraph 26, The Coming Revolution describes the EFF as: "a radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles. The EFF will be the vanguard of community and workers' struggles and will always be on the side of the people. The EFF will, with determination and consistency, associate with the protest movement in South Africa and will also join in struggles that defy unjust laws".

We have now gained sufficient understanding of the nature of the political and economic situation in our country. We now fully understand what IS TO BE DONE in respect of what are the challenges and the minimum programme as well as the tasks of our revolution, which is occasioned by a post-apartheid, so called ‘democratic' dispensation. Though there are contending views on both side of whether to retain a Pan-Africanist character or not, the view that argues for the retention, highlighted that it would be regrettable to discard an Africanist character as that we will be tantamount to validating a Eurocentric perception against the ability of Africans to articulate own narrative which affirms African solutions to African challenges. An Africanist character of the organization denotes a historical and contemporary post-colonial case for black consciousness as a prerequisite for Africa's right to self-determination.

 That EFF should be a convergence of historical dominant streams of the Congress movement and Pan-Africanism tendencies of the liberation struggle. Since the question of unity among blacks, as a common determinant has not been fully achieved, there is a need to continue on this path the struggle for the unity of the African people and take it to its logical conclusion.

Africans in diaspora and in the continent continue to get first-degree exposure to racism and other forms of segregation. The EFF cannot be everything to everybody. Pan-Africanism is not mutually exclusive with the class struggle. In fact, given the history of colonialism in Africa and colonialism of a special type or internalized settler colonialism particularly in South Africa, radical pan-Africanism and nationalism - a proponent of which is black consciousness - is a prerequisite condition for a thorough-going struggle for economic emancipation of the black majority in general and Africans in particular. The place and position of Africans must find dominant expression within the struggle for economic freedom pursued by the EFF.

We are also clear about the essential prerequisites for solving South Africa's social and economic challenges. We have answered to these basic prerequisites by means or through establishing a new movement for economic freedom - the ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS.

The strategic necessity of the birth of the Economic Freedom Fighters as a protest movement is predicated by two of its underpinning philosophical thoughts, that of:

a) Radical pan-nationalism or national (black) consciousness and

b) Progressive internationalism

Unless it is not based on this, then what - a narrow claim of economic exclusion and thus pursues exclusionist sectoral interest for primitive accumulation? Part of the struggle which the EFF is seized with is to deconstruct a fascist and racist social construct of apartheid colonialism of centuries of exclusionary practices which led to what accordingly to Adam, H. and Moodley, K. might be described as the inferiorization of blacks: Blacks were portrayed as innately inferior, accustomed to dehumanized living, sexually promiscuous, intellectually limited, and prone to violence; blackness symbolized evil, demise, chaos, corruption, and uncleanliness, in contrast to whiteness, which equaled order, wealth, purity, goodness, cleanliness, and the epitome of beauty. This historical task is the very one which confront the EFF as a stark reality. 

Significantly, EFF's emergence marks a reconstitution of the two dominant black political traditions on the left of the South African discourse namely the congress movement or ‘chartarist' and black consciousness as illustrated above. It has also buried subliminal rivalry of both and succeeded to infuse together these former hostile views into the same political fold.

The founding manifesto defines us. It unpacks the social and class formations and relations in our country. Particularly it defines these social forces between themselves (with their often, here opened and there closed contradictory interests) and with their relations to the means of production. We now understand the motive force's tasks and targets and now we grasp the character of the Economic Freedom Fighters. What is the character of the ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS at the present stage? It is a social-democratic or a socialist from the standpoint of what it defines as its strategic and principal enemy?

The EFF identifies capitalism and imperialism as its primary enemy on the basis of this it characterizes itself as anti- capitalist and fervently anti-imperialist movement. By this, EFF locates itself with the world working class socialist revolution. What locates the EFF on the side of international socialist movement?

This undertaking is profoundly expressed through two ideological features of progressive internationalism and radical Pan-Africanism.

Recognition of the historical socio-economic and political conditions e.g slavery, racism against Africans in the continent and in the diaspora, signaled by their collective subjugation as a people and as a class. The role of pan-Africanism has not diminished, is even more relevant today. Fanonian's outlook concedes to the very contemporary role of black consciousness to sharpen societal contradictions of race in particular. Progressive internationalism calls for wider collaborative platforms with like-minded organizations in the continent and in the diaspora.

The following should be guarded against role of post-colonial black bourgeoisie 

a) national and black bourgeois and the promotion of capitalism tendencies

b) the class question

c) the national question

d) defending the black skin despite and above all is problematic

Eurocentric view of Pan-Africanism should be combated. Radical Pan-African character is cannot alienate sections of the society from a historical and collective position, experience and the conceptualization point of view. Slavery and colonialization of Africans was not a social construct, but emerged as a result of grand scale dehumanization and decomodification of black people as cheap labour. This is consistent with Marx's theory of surplus labour. 

Retaining the radical pan-Africanist character potentially distinguishes the EFF as a proud organization of Africans and this is consistent with the established humanist-socialist traditions elsewhere in the post-colonial third world countries in the African continent, Latin America and Asia.

Fanon further amplifies this point with this analysis:

"National consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallization of the innermost hopes of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilization of the people, will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been".

Franz Fanon calls to us to move with speed to realize a need to ensure that Africans are reconciled with their land, wealth and family through nationalization as a process and programme in our lifetime for that EFF must pursue the following:-

a) An urgent obligation exists as a mass based movement of the left, and unapologetically pursues the agenda of nationalization of all mineral resources in line with the founding manifesto as a political imperative, is sacrosanct and constitutional obligation.

b) Politically and organizationally, in terms of its programme, the EFF strives for the mobilization of all social movements; the dejected, marginalized unemployed youth, underemployed professionals, students, homeless, landless and the civil society organizations in their protests, to take joint action for control and ownership of our country's political institutions under the command and leadership of the revolutionary classes.

c) Economically, it aims at the expropriation of all land without compensation and which shall be owned by the state and the nationalization of all mines, mineral resources, and all the strategic sectors and enterprises which are currently in private hands.

d) Building a vanguard revolutionary movement of the poor and the working class styled in the nature of EFF is a positive step closer towards the unity of all left forces and the attainment of real economic liberation for all South Africans, particularly Africans and black majority.

e) EFF comes as a dynamizing force for change for all South Africans and the rest of the continent including the global connection or political engagements within the regional and international revolutionary movements.

f) EFF is determined to exist side by side with all progressive forces and movements and seek to pursue the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime, guided by Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian theories of struggle not as dogma, but as guide to action.

g) EFF is here to elevate the resistance/protest movement to a decisive victory to vindicate the justness of the cause of liberation wars and to pay tribute to all those who perished fighting for the liberation of the African people and all the oppressed people of our land.

A movement of EFF kind is formed on the basis of and draws inspiration from the ideals set out in the Freedom Charter. In this context, the Freedom Charter serves as a minimum programme of action and not as an end, but a means towards total economic emancipation of all the economically exploited masses of the majority of our people. 


We depart from a standpoint that because revolutions are festivals of the oppressed masses should inherently be ethical and morally beyond reproach. The phrase ‘revolutionary morality' is coined and derived from this understanding. Moral and ethical uprightness underpins al human endeavors. People prefer to be good. Ethics in this context is concerned with a way of life which promotes the common good. EFF is founded on strong humanism, which is based on a culture of high social and personal values, rooted in human solidarity and communalism. 

To establish and sustain a society that cherishes revolutionary values and to create conditions for total political and economic emancipation, social justice and equitable distribution of wealth of the nation, our Founding Manifesto underscores the following objectives:

a) To attain and defend the national integrity and liberation of the oppressed black majority of South Africa

b) To participate in the worldwide struggle for the complete eradication of imperialism, colonialism and all forms of discrimination based on racial prejudice

c) To participate in support and promote all struggles form the attainment of the complete independence and unity of African states and by extension, the African continent

d) To oppose resolutely, tribalism, regionalism, xenophobia, religious and cultural intolerance

e) To oppose oppression of women and the oppression of all other gendered persons

f) To oppose patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia and any cultural or religious practices that promotes the oppression of anyone, women in particular

These principles presents a positive situation to fight ethical and moral decay and carries the potential of translating into our members, an objective necessity to be loyal to the cause of Economic Freedom struggle.

The question of the quality of leadership at all levels of our Movement and its structures should at the center of any discussion on building the organization. This is crucial in the sense that we cannot have a strong, radical and militant activist movement that can ‘lead and guide the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime' without a strong and quality leadership cores at all levels. The leadership cores which is able to wear all storms and continue to lead the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.

3.1 Elected leaders and their relationship with the masses

For the EFF to act as the mouthpiece, a catalyst for radical change, it must, as a matter of necessity, cultivate a revolutionary culture; capture the imaginations, aspirations and hopes of the masses. The provision of EFF's Constitution that relates to the admission of members should be adhered to, and if it is discovered that a man/woman does not appear to accept the creed, faith, the objects, and the rules and discipline of the organization, he/she should not be accepted as a member. Should he/she be discovered later that he/she does not, nothing less than a summary expulsion should be preferred against such a person.

In particular, it should not be forgotten that EFF is an organization of working class and the poor masses, it exists not for its sake but for the class interest of the working class. Therefore leadership of EFF shall be guided by the following values:

EFF elected leader:-

1) Must first and foremost, be someone bias to the poor and the working class people

2) Should in no way be associated with the practices that negate working people's interests

3) Should in no way subscribe to feudal or primitive capitalistic tendencies including narrow nationalism and sexist chauvinism,

4) Should in no way hold shares in any company or hold directorship in any privately owned enterprise

5) Should in no way receive two or more salaries

6) Should in no way own rental houses which he/she rents to others

7) Should in no way adjudicate in transactions, which are in conflict with these principles

All those elected or appointed under EFF's Constitution whether as councillors, MPLs, MPs and senior civil servants such as DGs, DDGs, Chief Directors, CEOs of SOEs, chairpersons of boards who are placed in positions of trust, as cadres, shall abide by these values. EFF will be firm in discipline and gentle in disbursing punishment that shall be proportional with the nature and severity of transgressions committed.

We need to have a close relationship with our community structures, created in a form of government or civil society. This will make our political education to be useful and appreciated

There is need for massive interaction with structures of our people in terms of governance, the Community Policing Forums, School Governing Bodies and the Hospital Boards and so on and so forth.


Our ideological orientation is Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian in outlook. It is therefore the responsibility of the nuclear centers to capacitate each and every member of the fighting force in defense of the left. Although EFF is - in its social composition of a wide range of strata and class formation - a vanguard of all protest movements; shall have to maintain strong discipline, democratic centralism, accountable leadership and ensure coherence and unity in action. It should strive to be effective not merely through its own structures and actions but through hegemonic ability to move with the masses.

4.1 Basic Principles of organization building

In order to build a solid, coherent and cohesive movement, the following basic principles must be integral to EFF formation. And they are: Marxist-Leninist- Fanonian line, democratic centralism, principled criticism and self-criticism, collective Leadership, proletarian culture of selflessness, working class solidarity, discipline and self-discipline.

These principles build a unique culture: an organizational culture. Revolutionary organizations are mainly known for this ability. They are also defined mainly on the basis of their ability to exist above the existence of personal traits, characteristics, styles, norms and primitive traditions its members bring.

The task of EFF is to immediately carry out the democratization of the organization through theoretical and practical preparations necessary for the establishment of its structures as a revolutionary organization rooted in the ability to appreciate the essence of unity of theory and social practice. The starting point, of necessity, is to educate and train our members around these basic principles.

We have full belief that we have to change the life of all our people and make sure that we have economic freedom in our lifetime. And we need to remain the vanguard movement of the left formations and the masses of the poor. This can be earned through struggle by being part and parcel of the daily struggles of the oppressed masses. Organizational principles are crucial in order to safeguard the unity and credibility of the organization in all circumstances. All these principles, especially collective leadership, must be a lived reality. 

This commitment should not be a declaration, but an act borne of conviction and the realization of the sufferings of the poor masses. A conviction, which is, etched deep in the conscience of the people themselves. It should, as a matter of principle stem from our belief and culture, and the people's aspirations in a form of the Freedom Charter. That people must be their own liberators, commanders and instructors of the marching orders towards victory.

4.2 Branch as a nucleus of organization building

A branch of EFF is a basic unit - a nucleus -, which is a primary source of life and maintains the integrity of the organic formation of the organization. In other words, a branch is a building block, a division of a larger and more complex organization. The quality of an EFF's branch determines the health and controls the life durability. It controls what goes on in the organization.

There can be no body cells without nucleus, and likewise, there can be no organization without branches. Branches are first line of defense in the political life of any organization. An organization without branches is like a tree without roots it will just fall away. 

EFF's branch should not function as a mere conveyer or transmission belt, but as an effective, efficient and viable organ and a beehive of community activism. EFF should ask itself whether its mass based and vanguard character require the adoption of features of both forms albeit distinct organizational forms in one organization?

What does mass based and vanguard party means, can EFF be both? Given the changed political milieu characterized by massive depoliticization of the populace; erosion of trust in politics and public representatives post-1994, interest to participation in party-politics has drastically declined. Vanguardism espouses a system of organization based on small yet qualitative and theoretically advanced units of cadres whereas a mass party prefers a big and numerically quantitative organization.

4.3 Organizational discipline 

Historically, societies organized themselves on the basis of social relations among humans and their relationship to the means of production. The moral and ethical conduct of members of organization mirrors that of society as a whole, thus a member, organization is a prototype of society that produces them. This makes discipline a social construct, not a fall from the skies outcome.

Discipline from the point of view of the EFF should not be related to through the lenses other than the revolution itself - ‘a festival of the oppressed masses'. The revolution is inherently ethical and underpinned by moral standards without which the conduct of such would be vacuous and hollow. Revolutionary discipline, it must, of necessity, mean the self-discipline of the individual, set in the context of a strictly prescribed collective activity and conduct equally incumbent upon all. This should be contained in policy line and code of conduct of members of the organization and lead to consistent congruence between its practice and theory.

Without discipline inside the organization, there is no way of undertaking any consequential revolutionary activity at all. In the absence of discipline, the organization falls apart, the revolutionary vanguard cannot exist, for in the case it would find itself in utter disarray in its practice and would be incapable of identifying the tasks of the moment or of living up to the role it has set itself to achieve. Ours must be collective of principles of fraternal discipline: discipline without eyes, without prejudice on the basis of the individual's background. 


Organizations are essentially, mechanisms designed to facilitate and coordinate social, cultural, political and economic relations between human beings and the environment. In building such an organization, it is without saying that the following becomes central tasks which entails a continuous, and constant process of:-

a) Building branches as nucleus of an organization

b) Mass mobilization

c) Recruitment of members

d) Political education and

e) Profiling and working the ground

f) Security, intelligence and protection of organization, its interests, unity and cohesion

Essentially, organization building is a rigorous process that involves members, activists and leadership and a need for systematic curriculum of political education for members particularly the poor masses due to their backwardness, the working class and society in general with the ultimate objective of preparing the most revolutionary class - the proletarianised African poor masses under the working class leadership, - to assume its leadership role. It needs a people imbued with class consciousness to realize that national consciousness alone is insufficient for the total economic emancipation - a nationalist movement is incapable to fulfill this task.

The organization will need to develop membership recruitment strategies. Such strategies should be based on a hybrid of elements from which EFF seeks to appeal. Membership recruitment strategy should talk to unique conditions and dynamics of each sector and be designed to respond to.

Furthermore, EFF being a movement for economic emancipation will have to develop a new approach towards its constitutional platforms at ward/branch level. Whether on the basis of its character of mass appeal and working class outlook it should avoid rigidity of strict application of percentage to attain quorum. Whether to depart from a minimalist approach in order to make meetings and attainment of quorum not a anathema but an incentive and motivator and then on a gradual basis, move up gear toward a maximalist approach?

The principles enshrined in the founding manifesto should serve as our guide and non-negotiable document. The harsh reality is, the former liberation movements in particular, the ruling party will be remembered on what it has achieved, EFF as the new economic emancipation movement, will be judged on the basis of what it fails to accomplish!


Political education and cadre development is a process of constant learning to avoid situation where the past dominates and determines the present. This situation is most common in a period of reaction we find ourselves in. This task of assessing the current period or conjuncture, calls out of necessity, that we must avoid mechanically repeating the errors of the past. We have to find a new and different way of taking political education and cadre development forward.

History has it that the most singular causative factor in the undoing and destruction of many former progressive formations has been a temptation of allowing liberal tendencies to creep in and dilute the essence, substance and the content of political input and stifling of rigorous political debate. This tendency often suppresses dissent and treated it as irritating and annoying.

Central to any organization building process and activity is a political line. A political line is a program of organization, strategy and tactics, to organize and develop members, to direct their intervention in society, and to organize working-class and al progressive forces and revolutionary struggles. Such a political line presupposes an understanding of what it means to organize and develop members in a given period and what is the character and contradictions of the society and working class in which we must intervene. Our founding manifesto makes a profound analysis of the social and class formations of South Africa's society.


There is no question about a need to establish these structures and what should be their role as integral organs. As a matter of necessity, efforts to build both the YC/WC require deliberate and practical determination.


The EFF's constitution makes provision for the formation of Youth Command Structures. This presupposes that such structures, will owe their existence to the constitution of the EFF, the founding principles and mission and vision. NB CONSTITUTION PROVIDES FOR THIS - NO DEBATE ABOUT IT.

Towards the formation of the EFF YC/WC:

- Pursue a delayed process, which will be laid latter upon establishment of EFF's own structures on the ground.

- A need to consider "Masupatsela- Pioneer Movement" to introduce EFF to younger children at an early stage of their political life.

What is the "youth" movement?

When we speak of the ‘youth' movement, we are generally talking about high school students and working class youth in and out of school. This is a strata in society of the dejected, marginalized, oppressed and exploited backgrounds. Majority of them are sons and daughters of unemployed, working class parents, and they themselves, just like their parents, are used as a source of cheap, easily available and disposable labor. This is the section of young people, which the government of the day seeks to entice through various forms of incentives and schemes with slave-like conditions.

The present young generation is a generation born into the so-called ‘democracy' or the ‘born-free' as they are called. Just like their parents, are products of broken homes, they are driven from pillar to post, wondering aimlessly, working when they find pies-jobs, stealing when they cant.

The youth must know that their position in society now, is intrinsically linked with the present, but more with the future. Mao Tse Tung on the seminal address to the theme on the youth, students role in the revolution said: "the world is yours, as well as ours, but in the final analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the...in the morning. Our hope is placed on you."

A youth command, built on the strong revolution traditions, should grow and develop on the basis of the rich history of struggles in South Africa and from struggles of other colonial and third world countries, particularly the black liberation struggle. But what should the nature of the youth command and its character which should be responsible for the future and the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime? What position do young people hold in society and what political role do they play? What is the relationship between the youth command and the fearless, radical, militant revolutionary movement of the Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian caliber such as the Economic Freedom Fighters?

The most important feature of the EFF aligned youth movement, should be its readiness to undergo a surgical procedure, to cut off the umbilical cord it so depended on from the poisoning belly of the erstwhile liberation movements without exception; to discard the deceitful bourgeois nationalism and mysticism of chartering black bourgeois aspirations; to cut ties with all that held it back from surging and advancing forward. We need a new breed of youth activists made up of young pioneers, young women and young men.

These activists should rise from the ashes of revolutionary nationalism of the 60s, 70s and 80s - the heydays of black power. It is our belief that each and every member of EFF and specifically, the YOUTH COMMAND, should realize that anyone who wants to be a revolutionary nationalist in this country, must out of necessity, first and foremost, be a socialist. This is a primary and principle prerequisite to cut ties with the reactionary, non-revolutionary traditions of the erstwhile liberation movement. We need a youth cadreship that shall appreciate that theirs is a historical mission too noble, and they dare not betray. Their role should be the revival of township politics characterized by militant, radical and revolutionary upsurge of the masses.

Secondly, the distinguishing feature of the EFF aligned youth movement should be the love for education - the growing interest in Marxism-Leninism and Fanonian thought and the ability to perfect the unity between theory and social practice as well as the interrelated struggles between youth and workers struggles. 

The EFF aligned Youth Command structures, should be bold to declare war against international white monopoly capitalism and take a stand as fervent opponents of world imperialism. Such a Youth movement should assume much serious role toward building EFF into a formidable force, which is strong enough to mobilise, inspire hope and lead the economically marginalized sections of society as a whole and the working class in particular. 

Political tasks of the Youth Command within the Youth Movement

For revolutionary nationalists and socialists alike, inside of the EFF, African, Coloured, Indian, black and white, we must do everything possible to help develop and broaden the Youth Command and the youth movement under the banner and the leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Guiding and leading it towards the interest of the working class, the poor masses and the oppressed people world over. 

The EFF aligned youth movement should understand the historical role played by generations of activists that came before and appreciate the contemporary role and the revolutionary tasks lying ahead.

This youth movement, in the words of Mao Tseng Tung, must "cast away illusion and prepare for the real struggle ahead."

These are the tasks for an EFF's Youth Command:

1) The recruiting and radicalizing young people and workers in general into Youth Command structures

2) Organizing young people to prepare themselves for struggles around their immediate needs

3) Empowering youth with Marxist-Leninist and Fanon tools of analysis and political ideology

4) Championing the interests of youth particularly young women

5) Building fraternal alliances with other like-minded youth organizations continentally and abroad

6) Preparing meaningful organizational and political work among the youth

7) To combat and fight bourgeois culture of selfishness, greed and egoism

8) Fight the culture which is linked to the above, of drugs, sex and alcohol and devil-worshipping

9) Formation of structures for a Pioneer ‘Masupatsela' Movement 

The tasks constitute the central ideological, political and organizational work of the Youth Command structures of the EFF, but are not limited to the one above. Youth play a vanguard role no matter what class they belong to. Without the support and participation of youth, it is impossible to have a genuine revolutionary movement. And as Lenin said we must be patient as possible with their faults and strive to correct them gradually, mainly by persuasion and not by coercion and condemning them, he said:

"Frequently, the middle aged and the aged do not know how to approach the youth in a proper way' for necessary, the youth must come to revolution in a different way by other paths, in other forms, under other circumstances than their fathers." - Lenin (Task of the Youth leagues)

Unlike other political organizations, the EFF is differently favoured by history in its relations with the youth - it is receptive to fallibility of the youth and generally youth led. So it would be easy for the EFF to link up with the youth, young workers at factory floors, in the streets, at universities, FETs, to win them over and by introducing socialist consciousness into their struggles. EFF Youth Command structures must assume organizational structures of the mother body and exist to organize, mobilize and recruit youth and young people in general who are between the ages of 15 and 30 years into the ranks of the EFF first and foremost and as members of the EFF Women Command as an integral organ of the EFF.


In a society free of segregation and oppression on the basis of class, race and gender, women role cannot be restricted to the kitchen. Women struggles and gains should find uniqueness in the fight for economic freedom particularly against patriarchal oppression. Women must be empowered and empower themselves to advance own causes and struggles. The struggle for women emancipation and gender equality is as old as the history of mankind. This struggle has evolved as society evolves and reproduced new conditions, new relations and new contradictions. Even during what is referred to as ‘matriarchal' society, though a woman was a head of family, power relations were skewed and seldom left women to bring up, nurture and take care of the off springs often without the help from men. Changing women's position in society is going to require a complete reconstruction of political and socio-economic power relations between men and women and women and state institutions as it were. It will require a social construct and re-allocation of roles between boys and girls at the very early stage of their development. It will have to fundamentally undo sexist patterns of capitalist relations of production; gender inequality and perceptions held by society towards women.

The social dynamics of the world, the crisis of the capitalist system, continue to bear negative impact on African women and women world over especially in third world countries of Asia, African and Latin America. It is this history of gender, class and with the advent of colonialism that exposed women in Africa to most violent forms of oppression and exploitation. 

The EFF's Women Command (EFF-WC) shall have to define its role to respond to relieve the womenfolk from yolk and burden exploitation. And to fully challenge gender inequality and the impoverishment of women and children especially the girl-child. Women have always been the primary catalysts for major social upsurge and in the struggle for liberation.

Political tasks of the Women Command and mainstreaming gender struggle

The EFF Women Command should lead women in different fronts to mainstream gender struggle and fight against gender inequality. To achieve this, it is important that the EFF-WC to unite women committed to a non-racial, non-sexist and free South Africa.

The EFF-WC should act as a cornerstone in the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime particularly for rural women. For the entire community and society to take active part in this new struggle, women must play a catalyst and dynamizing role as child-bearers, care-givers and secure women natural reproductive resources for the sustenance social progress and human survival.

So to this extent, the EFF-WC's role is to pursue the social and class struggle that should aims at achieving but not limited to:

a) the character on the basis of giving a mass character of the EFF.

b) eliminate all forms of oppression based on gender

c) gain economic equality and social status for women i.e. equal pay for equal work

d) political rights to determine their own lives as enjoyed by all

Further, the organization should clarify tactical and specific role of the EFF WC, which should be wider in scope focusing on women in rural areas. EFF WC should be different from elitist, feminist and submissive forms of women organization found hitherto in South Africa. An EFF WC must primarily, be a fighting, selfless and militant organization of working class women.

The concept of radical feminism and its role to agitate working class consciousness among women should be probed for further clarity about the role of women command. The notation that "the women rights and struggles are mutually linked to the struggle for economic freedom" must be amplified and find concrete meaning through organizational programme of the Women Command structures.

 The emancipation of women cannot be relegated to some ‘secondary question' or believe that this is a problem that can only be solved at some later stages of the evolving struggle against capitalist relations of means of production. It would only be more true to posit that the overthrow of capitalism is impossible so long as women are subject to special exploitation and social and political oppression.

EFF Women Command structures must assume organizational structures of the mother body and exist to organize, mobilize and recruit women, both young and old into the ranks of the EFF first and foremost and as members of the EFF Women Command as an integral organ of the EFF.


EFF must exist in all facets of society and express itself through multiply platforms and sites of struggles. The experience in South Africa points to a situation where the hegemonic influence of the former liberation movement was built around a combination of sectoral interests between itself and a host of civil society organizations, women, youth and student organizations, workers, religious and traditional leaders. This constitutes solid, impenetrable layers of organs, which were ready to freely avail their services in defense of the revolution. The very fact that under ‘democracy' many hopes for a ‘better life for all' have been dashed, the dream for freedom betrayed and has partially achieved is further confirmation that as long as these remain the stalk reality, the need to mobilise society at a wider scale is not an option but an imperative.

9.1 Relations with Civil Society Movement

Currently, civil society remains weak and marginalised as citizens have little capacity to influence political developments owing to a deeply paternalistic and assumed ‘hegemonic' government and leaders ‘know what the people need' syndrome. The larger section of the civil society, while not satisfied with government performance and the inability of the political system to meet their aspirations, suffers from and seems paralyzed by this syndrome. Civil society is defined in this context as a public space for citizens to engage in collective debate and self-expression, and where public opinions that influence public policy are formed. This space lies between the family and the state as an independent body from the state.

A healthy, engaged and outspoken civil society is considered an integral part of any democratic system of governance and EFF must build relations with the civil society organizations and utilize their ‘space' as potential site for the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime. The EFF should revive the civil society movement in this country, restore it to its former glory as fierce critics and vibrant alternatives forms of self-governance by local residents. The EFF should serious consider revitalizing such a movement including uniting independent civic associations which exists in various townships and villages.

9.2 Relations with Trade union movement

Marxist theorists have always maintained that trade unions are in themselves reformist in nature. However, in their reformist character they can either be reactionary or progressive depending on where they stand in relation to the struggles of the progressive forces in society. In our country we already have the benefit of real revolutionary experience of trade unionism. Key lesson from the role played by trade unions is that, the unions, being the natural grouping of the workers as producers which develop the class consciousness and militancy of the workers, develop at the same time their sense of responsibility and discipline, preparing them for the difficult task of organizing production and exchange in the era of economic freedom in our lifetime.

Suffices to say in the history of the liberation struggle, progressive trade unions have risen to the occasion and waged their daily bread and butter struggles at factory floor and linked them up with the broader struggle for political freedom.

Furthermore, it has always been the assumption and belief of Marxist activists that in the state of and during the revolution whoever has the unions on his side, is going to win it. They maintain that it is almost impossible to accomplish a social revolution outside or without the unions or against their will and demands. It is generally believed that the function of the unions as organs of disciplined and organized force in the efficient production and distributive value chains in mines, farms, factories, wholesales, retails stores and homes, must be broaden in the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.

The trade union movement in our country has played a meaningful and significant role during the liberation struggle. They served catalytic in the process leading up to major events in this county had a game changing effect towards the consolidation of the offensives and dealt a fatal blow against the apartheid regime.

For this function of trade unions to be properly conceptualized, such a conceptualization should flow from the following questions: what type of trade unions is here in South Africa? What part are they playing in the revolution? Are they still necessary and what is the scope of their activity? What is their structure? What is their future?

EFF must skilfully and patiently harness the groundswell of ‘disgruntlement' and lack of responsive unionism prevalence across all sectors of the economy.

9.3 Workplace units/branches

The workplace is the highly contested site of struggle between reactionary and progressive elements thrown into the workplace by their quest for employment. And they bring along the burden of their backwardness. The question of EFF's workplace units is indeed an inevitable one, thus a pressing need to perfectly study the new conditions and challenges in the different sectors. The post 1994 government while keeping a strong hold on Cosatu and its affiliated unions, has succeeded to turn the majority of trade unions into sweetheart and ostensible weak and parasitic and useless bargaining forms to rub shot over workers demands. This was achieved by the introduction of a new type of trade unionist: a labour aristocratic activist. This type was more than ready to abandon workers mandate in favour of cadre deployment, bureaucratization of unions and taking part in tenders, etc.

EFF must work closely with trade union to offer support and to learn from workers problems and seek solutions of such problems. This will organically enhance EFF's standing amongst workers and help deepen and internalize EFF's own seven cardinal pillars and enable workers appreciation of the need to defend them.

It is important to not that union is this country were born, developed and consolidated during a period of extreme suppression, in a period of struggle and combat, the unions acted energetically every time the liberation struggle was at danger of losing direction and momentum. It suffices to point out that the old unions are no longer capable to perform this role due to a new type of a bureaucratic, labour aristocratic unionist who captured and turned the union movement into a mere springboard for a career in politics.

9.4 Relations with student organizations

Students are not a class, they are a social layer in transition between classes, and don't have a specific relationship with the means of production, except the close proximity with their parents who may have such a relationship. In the Transitional Programme, Trotsky wrote: "the movement is revitalized by the youth who are free of responsibility for the past....only the fresh enthusiasm and aggressive spirit of the youth can guarantee the success in the struggle; only these successes can turn the best elements of the older generation to the road of revolution."

Youth and students have played a vital role in revolutionary struggles in the past and continue to this very day. Students are ‘foo soldiers of revolution' they are a source of energy needed by the revolution. They carry no baggage from the past; they are militant, radical and fearless. Youth in high schools and universities are quick to understand the imperatives for change, they are much quicker to radicalize around a particular issue than other sections of society. EFF must develop organic relations with students with the knowledge that in students lies potentially powerful social force, a catalyst for radical change.

The post-world war II economic expansion led capital to dramatically expand the role of universities and allow a large influx of working class students to enter. As well as the fact that since 1994, a majority of students come from working class backgrounds, the vast majority of the people are also destined to be wageworkers when they graduate, if at all they do.

This process of the proletariasation of university graduates, professionals and white-collar workers - as intellectual labour is introduced into the productive process on a larger scale - increases the links that the student body has with the brother working class. The EFF must strive to build a new consciousness among students and fuse the student struggle for access to free and quality education with the struggle for economic freedom.


EFF is a young political party styled a ‘protest movement' for radical change. It is new but we have to be greater than a political party, we have to be greater than an election force - a mere electoral party. Unlike the professional politicians of today, unlike the parties of the day, we cannot talk about problems and solutions, we have to point to the direction and provide solutions while highlighting the problems. We have to be working with communities and helping people. We are in perhaps one of the most important times in human history, the world is going through drastic changes, the country is going through interesting and dramatic changes, people are crying out for a new politics, a new way of doing things, of responsiveness, of accountability, of remaining true to the aspirations of liberation and we have to be part of that. How then do we achieve this?

1. being part of the social forces for radical change

2. working with other progressive forces for the consolidation of left unity

3. build solidarity platforms for collaborative networks and programmes

To achieve this, EFF must stand shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed, the downtrodden and those in need. That is why we must be part of the social movement for a radical change. We cannot set ourselves outside or above the people we are fighting for, ewe have to be fighting with them, we have to be sharing in their victories and in their defeats. We must be on the front line in the battles we hold dear to us as an organization, we must be at the protests, the sit-ins, occupations, at picketing lines, we must take part in and lead our own campaigns for radical change and social justice in real economic terms.

We have to be advocating for left unity and at the same time agitate and instigating it! Left unity we are calling for and agitating for must be engrained within all sectors, all sections and among all progressive elements in society, that, will assure us of the hegemony we so desperately seek


There is a need to have structured operations in the form of subcommittees or portfolio committee in the Central Command Team with seamless alignment with provinces and regions and therefore all structures as part of our monitoring role to sustain the organic growth and effective functioning of EFF.

The policy and research is critical in informing the political work of the organization and therefore assist the functionality of Organizing and Political Education units of EFF.

We need to emphasis much on political education for leadership and members as a whole. There is a need to have structured political induction throughout the organization to educate and train our members and volunteers about EFF to understand its vision, mission, and policy positions so that our message is one, direct and coherent.

A need for a massive political education within the masses of our people and further engage the private sector in order to elaborate on why nationalization and why without compensation as redistributive mechanisms. This is to have one organization that strives for a single nationhood without antagonism and win over none antagonist elements in society. The election Manifesto persuasive elaborates this to all sectors without compromising the cardinal pillars.

Key and fundamental questions of this discussion paper for which the EFF shall have to seriously ponder and find answers to include but not limited to the following:

a) What political landscape does the EFF envisage in a post-liberation era in South Africa?

b) Given that both ideological and intellectual ferment in on the wane, what specific interventions can the EFF and its broad front of social, workers, students, youth, unemployed and landless and homeless protest movements bring about conscious citizenry?

c) Inculcating a culture of free speech and robust debate and engagement: how then, does the EFF conceptualizes its role in building a coherent and cohesive movement of multiply grass-root organizations taking advantage of the groundswell of democratic spirit and vibrant momentum for a culture of engagement?

d) Building class consciousness: while there is glaring ideological paucity, political bankruptcy and moral decay of the left, the public space historically occupied by the ANC led movement declines coupled with political demobilization of the masses in general, except during elections campaigns;

e) Closing the social distance and building EFF hegemony: there has been a rise in sporadic, single-issue, grassroots protests fermented of course, by political disgruntlement; poor service delivery; unaccountable public representatives, which the resultant of which being a ground-swell disapproval and loss of hegemony by the former ANC-led liberation movement. What accounts for such a disjuncture?

f) Keeping EFF relevant: to remain relevant is by means of being able to vibrate among the people and their organizations. In what way should EFF position itself organizationally to avoid the mistakes committed by other organizations which might undermine efforts to make it viable and solid movement for fundamental change?

g) Combating sins of incumbency: how should EFF conduct itself in order to avoid a phenomenon which is symptomatic to a people captured in a cancerous state from which is unable to heal?

h) Deepening discipline and combating factionalism: what lessons can be learnt from and not to be repeated in respect of organizational discipline and democracy and the application of discipline within EFF?

i) Media, agitation and propaganda: EFF must invest and develop its capacity around this function as an instrument to rouse working class and poor masses consciousness and raise its fighting spirit.

j) Policy, research and political education: political workshops and induction of members should be a permanent feature through which political education is realized. Revolutionary theory should never be applied to stratify mechanically, political debate - the theory not be a dogma but a guide to action

k) EFF branch, a nucleus and bloodline: EFF branch must be a beehive and a center of community activism. It must work as living organism, a nucleus and the heartbeat of the EFF organizational make up.

l) Resourcing and building financial sustainability: how to build EFF fighting capacity, strength and ability to pursue the struggle of economic freedom under all circumstances without compromising the cause? Who should fund EFF and how and will that translate in the enhancement of the material means for organizational building?

Our founding manifesto observe s that: "the ANC (Former Liberation Movement) will never be a sustainable solution to South Africa developmental problems in the foreseeable future, due to its ideological zigzags, and open dominance of neoliberal and right wing politics".

The observation about the current character of the ruling party, presents an immediate challenge to build EFF as a catalyst towards the unity of left forces and the working class hegemony in South Africa.

Similarly, these are some of the fundamental questions that EFF, a radical and militant movement which brings together revolutionary, fearless, radical and militant activists, workers, movements, NGOs, community based organizations, lobby-groups under the need to pursue the struggle for economic emancipation, must grapple and preoccupy it with.

It must lead a process of inquiry and self-inquiry about the implications for ‘economic freedom in our lifetime'; seek to be ahead of times and simultaneously provide the vanguard leadership to the working class and other progressive formations in society.

There is no reason to assume that open debate on the fundamental task of organization building will spare us from criticism or condemnation. Neither should we be delusional about our strength or weaknesses. Nonetheless, we need to remain firmly focused and determined and appreciate that conditions for surging forward in this direction for robust engagement are more propitious than ever before.

We must have the courage to venture into unchartered waters regardless of the risks involved. Economic Freedom Fighters Movement should be built into a force capable to lead its aligned protests movements as described in the founding manifesto and society to change the social, political and economic landscape.

Organizational development and building, is a dynamic and dialectical process, it has a life of its own. It cast away illusions of mechanical approaches. This is the part of the process of objectively evaluating the present, particularly in terms of the objective possibilities offered by 20 years of a democratic breakthrough. This discussion paper only limited itself to raise and bring to the level of members understanding, the dialectical method in its application to the current burning issues of organization building.

The moment to build a vanguard movement for fundamental change is now. "Empty dialectics," says Lenin "is sophistry" and "idle play of words." Such method to organization building degenerates into the theatric playing of purely intellectual games. We must cease to endlessly react and recite the failed methods of struggle of the past and focus upon developing political capacity in the present which has the goal of achieving revolutionary transformation and the realization of ‘economic freedom in our lifetime' in the future. 

Finally, if we take seriously the statement that organization building is our central task, we must also take seriously what follows from this statement. It is that party building requires activists who are not just mass leaders of local struggles, but revolutionaries capable of the vision and knowledge appropriate to an economic emancipation movement. This vision and knowledge is acquired in local mass work with communities and in the workers struggles with each other to develop national cadre and a national organization. Such cadres are forged in internal political practice and then tempered in external political struggle.

For the reasons and argument we have made, we are convinced that this will facilitate internal democratization and vibrant internal political engagement as primary aspects of political practice in this period of organization characterization, renewal and building.

Issued by the EFF, October 27 2014

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