The SACP isn't a faction within the ANC

Justice Piitso on the growing calls for the Party to go it alone in elections


On the 3th of August the people of our country will be exercising their democratic right to vote during the forthcoming local government elections. This will be a titanic battle between revolutionary forces led by our movement the ANC and forces of reaction led by the counter revolutionary Democratic Alliance. 

We therefore use this opportunity to make a call to all formations of the working class in our country to use the coming elections as a decisive moment for the defense of the victories of our national democratic revolution. There is no any other party which carries the interests and aspirations of the South African working class other than the ANC. 

One of the most important theoretical debates dominating the election period is the question of the vanguard role of the communist party in our liberation movement and its relationship to state power. There is a growing voice from some quarters from outside and within our national liberation movement calling for the party to contest the coming local government elections on its own as an independent party. 

This is not just a rhetoric but the most fundamental theoretical question arising out of the historic necessity of the role of the communist party as the political leader of the struggles of the working class. It is an indispensable question which is necessarily about the leadership role of the party in the class struggle and hegemony of the working class power. 

This question will continue to dominate debates in society as long as the antagonistic relationships between the systems of capitalism and communism continue to be the principal feature of our society. It will shape our ideological debates as long as the inherent contradictions of the dominant capitalist world continue to impose themselves onto the world of humanity. 

But the fundamental question which will always arise is whether the necessary objective conditions exist within the South African realities for the party to contest the coming elections on its own as an independent party. Surely this is a question which requires our deeper analysis of the prevailing material conditions in our country and the world.

The communist parties of the world are duty bound to abide themselves to the universal principles set out in the communist manifesto which amongst others say" 

the communist do not form a separate party opposed to other working class parties. They have no interest separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set out any sectarian principles on their own, by which to shape and mound the proletariat movement. 

The communist parties of the world are distinguished from the other working class parties by the following characteristics"

In the national struggle of the proletariats of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independent of nationality. 

In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interest of the movement as a whole". 

Vladimir Lenin says the following in the strategy and tactics of the communist movement" 

In its own interest, the working class should strive to lead the national democratic revolution and not allow the leadership of the revolution to be assumed by the bourgeoisie, but on the contrary, to take the most energetic part in it, to fight resolutely for consistent proletariat democratism, for the revolution to be carried to its logical conclusion". 

In other words the communist party is comprised of the most advanced sections of the working class guided by our revolutionary scientific theory of Marxism Leninism. Its historic mission is to consolidate the political and socio economic hegemony of this class which constitute the majority of the population of the world. 

On the basis of a scientific analysis of the new epoch of imperialism, Vladimir Lenin creatively and comprehensively developed the views of Marxism on the national and colonial question. He understood well that the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed nationalities would inevitably intensify the crisis of the capitalist world. 

The sixth congress of the international communist movement of 1928 instructed the communist parties of the world to unite the working class in their struggle against imperialism and at the same time creating conducive environment for the building of socialism. They were instructed to oppose national oppression, fight for national equality and the self determination of the oppressed nations and fully support the struggle of the national liberation movements against colonialism and imperialism. 

The plenary session of the sixth congress of the international communist movement characterized our own specific South African situation as colonialism of a special type. It instructed the communist party of South Africa to adopt the slogan for the creation of an independent native South African republic with full equal rights for all races. 

It is from this context therefore that in our pursuit to our struggle for a future socialist South Africa, we apply the correct scientific analysis of the objective realities of our historical period. In our own instance, the party therefore is duty bound to be part of the liberation movement in our struggle to eradicate the legacy of colonialism of a special type. 

Therefore in our own contemporary epoch of our transition from apartheid colonialism of a special type to a national democratic society, our national democratic revolution becomes our highest form of struggle. The transfer of socio economic power from the minority to the African people who constitute the majority of the population becomes our immediate programme. 

Our understanding is that our national democratic revolution headed by the ANC is a minimum programme of the party towards the attainment of the objectives of our socialist future, whilst socialism itself is the maximum programme for the attainment of the future of humanity, which is the communist society. 

Therefore the leading role of the working class in the current stage of our transition, constitute a vanguard of our struggle for the victory of our national democratic revolution. The participation of the communist party in our struggle for the reconstruction of a new society is an essential step in our forward march to the future socialist society. 

The communist party cannot be a faction in the structures of the ANC but a vanguard leader in our overall struggle for the victory of our national democratic revolution. Members of the communist party must occupy the forefront trenches of our struggle for liberation as genuine members of the ANC. 

The question whether the party must contest elections or not is not about our feelings or our opportunistic selfish interest in the movement as a whole, but about the strategic objectives of the struggles of the working class for political power. It will be dangerous for the party to isolate itself in the current epoch of the most hostile world dominated by forces of imperialism. 

The communist party still has an important role to play in ensuring that our people attain the complete victory of the struggle of our national democratic revolution. Therefore we must not allow those who want to turn our party into a wagon to carry their selfish interest at the expense of the struggle of the working class. 

Members of the communist party must participate in the internal processes of the movement in their individual right as genuine members of the ANC. We need to guard against those who want to be more revolutionary than others only when they are not occupying positions of responsibility in the movement.

Any endeavor to bring the debate about the party and state power by those who lost during the process of nomination of candidates for the coming elections will be tantamount to counter revolution. The party cannot be a material force to negotiate for positions in the national liberation movement and our democratic state in general. 

The immediate role of the party as the vanguard leader of the struggles of the working class is to strengthen the ANC as a revolutionary mass movement for change. The ANC is the only hope for the aspirations and wishes of the majority of the people of our country.

The ANC is not just a nationalist movement, but a revolutionary nationalist movement. This is reflected in its posture of a mass character representing all other classes and sections of our society. The ANC is the center of the world wide struggle against imperialism and the legacy of colonialism.

Our struggle for the building of a national democratic society is still an inseparable part of the world wide struggle against imperialism. We need therefore appreciate the contribution of the party to the common struggle of our people to build a non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society. 

The struggle against the legacy of national oppression and class exploitation are not contradictory. Therefore the role of the party is to consolidate the unity of our revolutionary alliance to meet the objectives of our national democratic revolution. 

It is on this basis that the working class across the country should work hard in ensuring that the ANC gets an overwhelming majority in the forthcoming local government elections. The eyes of the world imperialism are here to reverse the gains of our revolution. 

Phatse Justice Piitso is the former Ambassador to the republic of Cuba and the former provincial secretary of the SACP writing this article on his personal capacity.